Does Red Wine Help Digest Meat

Does Red Wine Help Digest Meat? Know the Facts

If you’ve ever been to dinner with us, you’ll know that our favorite dish to order is a ribeye steak pair with red wine. Something about how the flavors of these two combine and interact in the best way possible. But are there additional benefits to enjoying red wine with meat? Does red wine help digest meat?

Several studies have shown that yes, red wine can actually help digest meat. Red wine has a relatively high acidity, which helps your stomach break down protein. Red wine also aids the stomach in removing potentially harmful substances found in red meats.

But there are several other reasons why you should be drinking red wine when you eat red meat. In this article, we’ll go over all the top reasons why you should be drinking red wine when eating red meat, as well as go into more detail on how red wine helps digest meat.

Let’s jump in.

How Does Red Wine Help Digest Meat?

As we mentioned earlier, there are several factors the make red wine great for helping you digest red meat. Before we get into details, it’s always worth mentioning that these benefits only work with a moderate amount of red wine. Overdo it and you’ll encounter other digestion problems.

Author Note: The biggest reason why red wine helps digest meat is due to the acidity of the red wine. Red wine usually has a relatively high level of acidity. This extra acid helps break down the protein in the red meat you consumed. This in turn helps your body digest and process the meat more effectively.

Another way red wine helps you digest meat is through its removal of lipid hydroperoxides (bad components of red meat fats). Scientists have found that red wine naturally helps the body remove these harmful substances from red wine during digestion. This can be good for your health in the long run.

This process is most likely attributable to the high level of antioxidants that are found in red wine. What are the antioxidants from? Most likely the darker skin of the red grapes used to make red wine. 

This means you won’t find the same healthy properties in white wine that you may want to enjoy. More of a reason to drink red wine!

Does Red Wine Break Down Meat?

Grilled ribeye beef steak with red wine, herbs and spices on wooden table

Along with the same thought process as we listed earlier in the article, red wine does help break down meat once it’s in your stomach. This is due to the high acidity levels of red wine which help your stomach break down meat’s protein molecules.

This doesn’t mean that red wine breaks down meat in your mouth or at any other point during digestion. If you marinate your meat in red wine, however, this would begin breaking down the protein and tenderize the meat.

Which Red Wine is Best for Digestion?

Now that you know that red wine helps digest meat, you may be wondering which red wine is best for digestion. Since there are so many different types of red wine, which one will help you digest your meal the best?

The red wines that are best for digestion are wines that deep red in color, which means they have a heavy extraction. Wines that were made from red grapes with a heavy extraction will have extracted as much color and antioxidants from the skin of the grapes – which is the component in the wine that helps with digestion. 

Here the best wines for digestion.

All of these red wines have a relatively heavy extraction, which means they will be chock-full of antioxidants. It’s also worth noting that all of these wines happen to pair excellently with red meats due to their robust flavor and strong structure. So it’s really a win-win!

Is Wine a Good Meat Tenderizer?

The restaurant is the main meat dish

Author Note: If you read the rest of this article, you probably know the answer to this question. But if not, the answer is yes! Wine is a good meat tenderizer. If you’re purely trying to tenderize meat, we recommend using something more acidic than wine (such as pineapple). 

But if you want to make a marinade and include a bit of red wine to help tenderize your meat, that can be a good idea. We like adding red wine to many of our marinades, especially when grilling or frying our meat in a pan. This technique also works especially well when preparing meat that might be overly tough.


Here are a quick recipe and instructions on how to use red wine as a tenderizer in a marinade.

  1. Begin by choosing the type of meat you want to cook. This marinade goes especially well with tougher cuts of beef, such as a pot or chuck roast.
  2. Begin by adding olive oil, salt, and pepper to a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. This will be where you’re storing your meat in the marinade.
  3. Then pour in a cup of red wine. If you want to use the same wine you plan on drinking later with dinner, simply pour out a cup then replace the cork and refrigerate the wine. This should keep the wine’s flavor relatively stable until you’re ready to enjoy it later that day.
  4. Next, add any additional spices or herbs you want to flavor your beef with. We like adding a crushed up clove of garlic and some pressed rosemary. This will give your marinade additional flavor that goes well with red wine.
  5. Now you need to wait! We like to marinate our meat for at least 2 hours. This allows the flavor of herbs to penetrate the meat. It also gives the red wine time to tenderize the meat.
  6. After at least 2 hours have passed, take your meat out of the bag and get ready to grill! If you want the marinade to impart more flavor to your meat, feel free to throw the meat directly on the grill from the marinading bag. If you want the flavors to be more subtle, wash the meat off after removing it from the bag.
  7. We like to let our meat warm up to room temperature before cooking. This allows us to cook the meat faster and makes how long it will take to cook to medium-rare more predictable.
  8. If you want to cook your meat to medium-rare, there are two techniques that both work very well. The first is to use a meat thermometer and cook the meat until the center reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the perfect temperature for medium-rare beef.
  9. The other option is to use the firmness test. The firmness test involves cooking the meat until it’s as firm as the muscle in between your thumb and forefinger. Once the meat is approximately the same firmness as your muscle, its ready to be taken off the grill 

Is Red Wine Bad for the Gut?

Another question we get all the time with red wine and digestion is if red wine is bad for the gut. Red wine is actually good for your gut, as it promotes greater diversity of gut micro-organisms and probiotics. 

Red wine has different micro-organisms in it than other foods due to the process of making wine. These additional organisms can increase the diversity of healthy micro-organisms living in your digestive tract. It also helps support good bacteria in your microbiome.

So red wine (obviously in moderation) is actually good for your gut!

Should I Drink Wine Before or after Dinner?

Three steaks roasted on the grill

Since it’s pretty clear that drinking wine with dinner can have health benefits (not to mention all the other benefits), you’re probably wondering when the best time to drink red wine with dinner is. Should you drink wine before or after dinner?

Studies have shown that you should drink wine before eating dinner, as long as this doesn’t tempt you to drink too many glasses of wine! Drinking wine before dinner will get the healthy antioxidants into your system before you eat red meat, which will allow their benefits to begin as soon as you eat dinner. 

Author Note: If you wait until after dinner, your body will begin processing the meat without the healthy antioxidants. This may limit their effect and not be as healthy. 

Another option is to drink your wine right as soon as you start eating dinner, which can also be a good option. This will allow the healthy properties of the wine to aid in your digestion as well as increase your level of antioxidants. 

Parting Thoughts

If you drink as much red wine as we do, you’ve probably wondered does red wine help digest meat? But after reading this article you now know that yes, red wine does help digest meat – along with many other things. 

You now also know that drinking red wine with dinner has multiple health benefits and that the darker the red wine the healthier it is for your system. This is due to the higher level of antioxidants present in high extraction wines. 

We hope you enjoyed learning about how red wine helps digest meat, as well as the additional health benefits of drinking red wine in moderation. If you needed an excuse to have a glass of wine with dinner, you may have just found it!

We hope you found this article useful! If you have additional information on why red wine is good for digestion or you want to let us know about your favorite red wine to drink with red meat, let us know in the comments below.

To living a full-bodied life,


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